Page 2962 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 14 August 2013
MADAM SPEAKER: Sorry, but the thing is that I need to do it within the rules of debate.
Mr Rattenbury: Sure.
MADAM SPEAKER: Would you like to seek leave?
Mr Rattenbury: I seek leave to perhaps clarify the question Mr Hanson has just raised.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo): I think this is becoming unnecessarily complicated. My recollection of last Assembly was that many questions around the parliamentary agreement were allowed when they were framed as asking about a specific subject matter. And as you rightly identified in your earlier comments, Madam Speaker, the advice at the time was that a minister could be asked about any matter in the parliamentary agreement that they were responsible for, but it was more the generic political questions that were being asked about the agreement that were considered problematic at the time. So I think Mr Hanson is painting an unnecessarily complicated picture, and I might offer those thoughts at this time.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (10.44): I thank Ms Porter for bringing the motion to the Assembly and acknowledge the very significant interest that she has shown in matters around end-of-life planning and, indeed, the extent she has gone to to research it, which has included a study trip, which she has outlined, and a lot of meetings and discussions around formulating her view on this. This is exactly what members are elected to this place to do, identify issues of particular interest, work hard around them and then see how those interests can be debated and explained in the Legislative Assembly.
There is no doubt that the ACT community welcomes the idea of examining death and dying and ways to ensure that end-of-life decision making, and particularly individuals’ end-of-life decision making, is upheld and respected, but more needs to be done. The Local Hospital Network Council have identified this, and I congratulate them for the work that they did with their end-of-life and decision-making forum in May this year, which both Ms Porter and I attended, where experts were brought from a range of different areas across the health, community and consumer movements to discuss what needs to change in end-of-life care and decision making or what needs to improve. I think overall it was an extremely positive day.
The report that was released by the council was sent to me and was tabled in the Assembly yesterday. It focused on increasing community engagement and awareness about end-of-life care to increase community awareness of advanced care planning, to increase resources for advanced care planning, including training of more staff, to clarify the legal framework around advanced care plans and create simpler, legally binding tools to enable advanced care planning and to ensure that advanced care plans